Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Department of Land’

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 522 days and counting…

November 28, 2014 Leave a comment

count

It is now 522 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked.

It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:

“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”

In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision cancelling the leases, O’Neill said

“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”

“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people” 

But, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 522 days O’Neill has failed to revoke the SABL leases and has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

Rimbunan Hijau ignoring court order to stop logging operations

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment
A logging ship collects logs from the RH operation in Pomio

A logging ship collects logs from the RH operation in Pomio

Controversial Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Hijau, has failed to abide by a court order to stop all logging operations in two lease areas in the Pomio district of East New Britain.

The court order (see below) was issued on November 14 after an application by landowners from Portions 196C and 197C. The landowners say the Special Agriculture and Business Leases being used by RH subsidiary, Gilford Limited, were obtained by fraud and forgery and without following the proper processes under the Lands Act.

According to reports from the landowners, RH/Gilford has not stopped logging and other forest harvesting operations. This is in direct contravention of  the court order which prevents any logging or associated activities in Portions 196C or 197C or anything else in reliance on the logging permit.

Rimbunan Hijau has already cleared at least 7,000 hectares of forest in the Pomio area and exported more than 500,000 cubic metres of timber with a declared value of over $50 million.

In October, the National Forest Board renewed the logging permit for the Pomio SABLs despite widespread opposition from local landowners.

The restraining orders against RH were issued by Justice Batari in a court hearing in Kimbe. The matter will return to court in December for further legal arguments.

Court Order OS 697 1

Court Order OS 697 of 2014 2

Peter O’Neill’s illegal logging: 515 days and counting…

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment

count

cartoon showing Peter O'Neill being fed by Rimbunan Hijau while he sits on a pile of SABL reports

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

SABL_billboard

Court orders halt to RH logging operations in controversial Pomio SABL areas

November 19, 2014 1 comment

logging

via ACT NOW!

The National Court has issued a restraining order stopping any forest logging operations by Rimbunan Hijau in two controversial Special Agriculture and Business Lease areas in the Pomio district of East New Britain.

The orders have been obtained by landowners from Portions 196C and 197C who claim the SABLs were obtained by fraud and forgery and without their consent and without following the proper processes under the Lands Act.

The Pomio SABLs are part of a wider land grab in PNG which has seen more than 5 million hectares of land taken from customary owners under 99 year leases. A Commission of Inquiry has condemned the leases as being fraudulent and unlawful but the government has not acted to stop logging companies operating in lease areas.

Rimbunan Hijau has already cleared at least 7,000 hectares of forest in the Pomio area alone and exported more than 500,000 cubic metres of timber with a declared value of over $50 million.

In October, the National Forest Board renewed the logging permit for the Pomio SABLs despite widespread opposition from local landowners. In September, the elected ward councillors and other community representatives from the villages of Bairaman, Mauna and Lau, wrote to the National Forest Board requesting the forest clearance permit issued in 2010 not be renewed.

When the Forest Board refused to listen to the landowners plea and elected instead to renew the logging permit the landowners turned to the courts for assistance.

The court orders stop the National Forest Authority doing anything to give effect to the new logging permit and stops RH from conducting any logging or associated activities in Portions 196C or 197C or doing anything else in reliance on the new permit.

The restraining orders were issued by Justice Batari in a court hearing in Kimbe on Friday, 14 November. The matter will return to court in December for further legal arguments.

Peter O’Neill’s illegal logging: 508 days and counting…

November 14, 2014 Leave a comment

508

It is now 508 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked.

It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:

“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”

In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision cancelling the leases, O’Neill said

“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”

“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people” 

But, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 508 days O’Neill has failed to revoke the SABL leases and has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

cartoon showing Peter O'Neill being fed by Rimbunan Hijau while he sits on a pile of SABL reports

The people and forests of Papua New Guinea under threat: the government’s failed response to the largest land grab in modern history

November 11, 2014 Leave a comment
logging road

Logging road – Bewani SABL. Photo: Global Witness

Global Witness

Despite public statements to the contrary, the PNG government is failing to take meaningful action to address the SABL crisis that is harming its people and environment…

Summary

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a nation of indigenous landowners. Its citizens have legal rights to the land they traditionally live on and use under the country’s Constitution and depend on land and forests for their daily survival. The country is home to the largest rainforest in Asia and unparalleled biodiversity. Yet PNG is on the front lines of a global race for access to natural resources and is failing to protect its citizens and natural resources against one of the largest land grabs in modern history.

Three years after an independent investigation was launched to look into alleged fraud and illegality surrounding the widespread issuance of Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABLs) covering roughly 12% of Papua New Guinea’s total land area, the government has taken no meaningful action to defend its citizen’s rights to their land and halt the wholesale destruction of rainforests of global importance.

In this briefing, we explain the following issues that need to be urgently addressed:

  • Government inaction – The PNG government has failed to stop any logging operations under SABLs even where an official investigation recommended the SABL be cancelled.
  • Breakdown in law and order – Logging and exports continue unabated and with the support of local police and forest authorities in the one operational SABL the government has cancelled.
  • Failure to complete SABL review – More than three years after committing to review the legality of SABLs, around
    40% have not been reviewed, including the three largest timber exporting operations.
  • More logging authorized – The National Forest Board continues to issue and renew permits to log and clear rainforest under SABLs, ignoring community complaints and the government’s own decision to repeal the SABL mechanism.
  • Timber grabbing – Many SABLs have been used for industrial logging rather than their intended purpose to promote agricultural development, with SABLs now accounting for nearly a third of the country’s total log exports with an export value of roughly US$100 million a year.
  • Total impunity – No government offiicials or companies involved in the abuse of SABLs have been prosecuted or sanctioned where evidence of criminality or negligence was uncovered by an official investigation.

Conclusion

Despite public statements to the contrary, the PNG government is failing to take meaningful action to address the SABL crisis that is harming its people and environment. As outlined in this brief, it is imperative that the government implement the recommendations coming out of the Commission of Inquiry’s two year investigation into the SABLs and ensure that its decisions are being enforced on the ground. It must initiate appropriate measures to hold government officials and companies to account for violating PNG laws, including prosecutions where there is evidence of criminal activity. And critically, it must expedite an independent and transparent review process of the remaining SABLs and take swift action to protect the rights of its indigenous landowners and prevent further harm to the livelihoods of its citizens and the natural resources they depend on.

Download the full Briefing Paper:  Global Witness – PNG Land Grab – 10 Nov 2014  [2.5 MB]

Peter O’Neill’s illegal logging: 501 days and counting…

November 7, 2014 Leave a comment

501

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

cartoon showing Peter O'Neill being fed by Rimbunan Hijau while he sits on a pile of SABL reports

billboard poster - give land back to landowners

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 912 other followers